Barack Obama Stories January 12, 2016

AAPL: 99.96

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Last Friday, Tim Cook was among a handful of Silicon Valley officials who met with White House officials to discuss the use of technology and social media in fighting terrorism. The Intercept today reports that Tim Cook again took the stance of there being no backdoors in technology to allow access to user data and devices.

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Barack Obama Stories October 12, 2015

AAPL: 111.60

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A New York federal judge has indicated that he is likely to refuse a government request to compel Apple to unlock a customer’s iPhone, but will first ask Apple to explain why decrypting iPhones would be “unduly burdensome.” The iPhone concerned is apparently not running iOS 8 or 9, and so Apple would have the technical ability to decrypt it.

The Washington Post reports that Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York is an activist judge who is believed to be attempting to open up public debate on the issue of privacy versus law enforcement …  expand full story

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Barack Obama Stories September 25, 2015

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Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, arrive for a State Dinner reception in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Among over 200 titans of industry, finance and entertainment this evening, Apple’s Tim Cook and former EPA head and Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa P. Jackson attended President Obama’s Chinese State Dinner. The two reportedly sat at the President’s table with FaceBook’s Mark Zuckerberg with wife Pricilla Chan, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Apple Board member and Disney CEO Bob Iger among the 18… expand full story

Barack Obama Stories May 19, 2015

Apple among those asking Obama to reject calls for government access to encrypted data

Apple and Google have co-signed a letter calling on President Obama to reject any government proposal to allow the government backdoor access to encrypted data on smartphones and other devices. The Washington Post says the letter, due to be delivered today, is signed by more than 140 tech companies, prominent technologists and civil society groups.

The signatories urge Obama to follow the group’s unanimous recommendation that the government should “fully support and not undermine efforts to create encryption standards” and not “in any way subvert, undermine, weaken or make vulnerable” commercial software.

Apple uses end-to-end encryption for iMessages, meaning that Apple has no way to access the data even if presented with a court order. Tim Cook stated last year “it’s encrypted, and we don’t have the key.”

The FBI has been pushing increasingly hard to require tech companies to build in backdoor access to their encryption systems to allow access by law enforcement, even going so far as to say that Apple could be responsible for the death of a child. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has also cited child safety as a justification for demanding access to encrypted data.

The letter calling on Obama to reject this argument is also signed by five members of a presidential review group appointed by Obama in 2013 to assess technology policies in the wake of leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Many in the tech industry have pointed out that, aside from the obvious concerns over government intrusion into the private lives of its citizens, any backdoor used by the government could potentially be discovered and exploited by hackers and foreign governments.

Barack Obama Stories March 26, 2015

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Apple is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Apple was joined by AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  expand full story

Barack Obama Stories March 3, 2015

Obama weighs in as China demands access to data services provided by U.S. companies

President Obama has publicly criticized China’s plans to expand ‘security’ policies that would effectively prevent U.S. tech companies like Apple selling their products in China without completely compromising data security.

Reuters reports that the Chinese government plans to require foreign tech companies to host in China all data servers used by their products, and to allow the government access to the data. As this would include iCloud backups, this would provide the Chinese government with complete access to all data stored on iPhones and iPads sold in China.

In an interview with Reuters, Obama said he was concerned about Beijing’s plans for a far-reaching counterterrorism law that would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys, the passcodes that help protect data, and install security “backdoors” in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access … 

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